Spotlight on Linux: Linux Mint 9

Linux Mint is another distribution that seems designed for new users, although many seasoned users find it as handy as anyone. Linux Mint takes Ubuntu and makes it usable by adding drivers and codecs and adjusting the default application stack for more mainstream appeal. In addition, they customize the appearance for a more universal demographic. Mint isn't just a revamped Ubuntu. Its developers actually write tools and utilities to increase user-friendliness. Best of all, it's one of the few distros that can truly be considered "install and go." All these factors are surely why Mint has soared into the top 3 of Distrowatch's Page Hit Rankings.

The installer is a customized version of the Ubuntu Ubiquity installer which walks the user through a simple and easy installation. Mint also shares Ubuntu's Restricted Driver tool that will install proprietary firmware for certain hardware, such as video cards and wireless Ethernet chips. Many familiar GNOME elements are present as well such as the Control Center and panel applet browser. But what sets one distribution apart from the others is the original work, and Linux Mint has done theirs.

The first thing one is likely to notice is Mint's unique menu. It's similar to SUSE's Slab menu by offering access to all entries from main interface. Favorites can be set up for easier access to some and computer mainstays are always present. Perhaps the best feature is the filter or search. Sure it will isolate the desired application from other entries, but if not present on the system the option to install will be offered.

Mint comes with two distinct package managers. One is the widely used Synaptic front-end to APT set up with Mint and Ubuntu repositories, but the other is Mint's own. It sports a clean interface, easier to decipher categories, detailed descriptions with screenshots, and user ratings. If the application being explored is already installed, the action button becomes Remove. It's quite impressive in its simplicity.

Mint has several smaller specialized tools too. One that might be of particular interest is mintBackup, which as it sounds is a backup and restore utility. Again, like the Software Manager, the interface is uncluttered and clean but includes handy features. mintUpdate is another. As its name implies, it lists and will update packages as security and bug fixes become available. In addition, it lists a safety level for each update corresponding to the level of testing done on Mint by developers. The update manager also comes with a panel applet that alerts the user of any available updates.

The best thing about Linux Mint is its out of the box capabilities. Nothing says ease-of-use like having browser and multimedia plugins and codecs already included and ready to use. Nothing is appreciated more either, by a lot of users. There is a large community of friendly and helpful users surrounding the Mint project, so be sure to drop by the forums. This version comes with GNOME 2.30, but other desktop versions follow soon after initial release. Any way you look at it, Linux Mint is one of the best distributions available today from any project, no matter the size.


Susan Linton is a Linux writer and the owner of


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Penny's picture

Is mint9 part of a free distribution list just as ubuntu is?


Anonymous's picture


can i upgrade from Helena to Isadora?

keef's picture

and if so how? i like linux mint8 but want to move to 9 without having to do a fresh build. sorry i'm a bit of a linux novice and need some instructions Much appreciated keef

Mint security

Singu's picture

To Susan:
Mint doesnt authenticate downloads or updates from any repository by default, doesnt mention this in the release notes, this has been ongoing from version 7 and there is no sign that will be fixed. Just google: mint authentication and
hit first entry. I am not a techie but isnt this a serious security issue worth mentioning and exploring further, since this is third most popular Linux distro according to DistroWatch.
Nice site, Singu.

Mint 9 HP Towers sold at Florida Library

linuxiac38's picture

HP Pentium 4 mini-towers, loaded with Linux Mint 9, are selling at the Seminole County Library Branch #1, Oxford Road, Casselberry, Florida, "Friends of the Library" ( ) bookstore, for $40 to $75, for 2.0 GHz, 2.4GHz Model d51c; 2.66 GHz, or 2.8GHz Model d530.

All include a 30 day warranty, mouse, keyboard, AC Cord, 512MB RAM, the CDROM drive, a 40GB hard drive... Linux Mint 9! Also, see the HP site for specifications.

Running mine, a d530 P4 2.8GHZ flip mini-tower, on Mint 9, with dual LCD monitors!

There are, at most, 8 to 10 HP towers on the shelves, restocked by a volunteer on Tuesday and Thursday build days.

Cash or check, in person, only. ALL proceeds benefit the free library system!

The FREE Install Fest Seminar with on July 3rd was a success! Folks who bought those systems, noobs all, attended, and the free flow of info and help lasted for hours!

Linux Enthusiasts and Professionals of Central Florida also installed in 2005, and have run a private academy (K-12th grade) of 35+ Linux Mint (since 2007) systems! Students like Linux Mint!

Use What is Best For You

doldman's picture

Why does what Clem say Matter If You like Linux Mint Use It,If You Don't Use Ubuntu or any other Distro but not use a OS because of what someone Has posted, As I have posted on Ubuntu Forums You Don't know what other Devs. Think Clem Just Posted his online,We as tax payers in The Good Ole US of A Have Killed More people than any country in the World,Read Your History-- You use Windows,Do you know what Bill Think,OS X, I-Tunes Know what Steve Thinks, Ubuntu Does anyone know Whats Mark Wants From Free and Open Source Software? Have You not read What some of the most famous people in History Belived? Just get over it. Use what you want Be it windows or Linux and Ubuntu is Not Linux Just my 2 cents I will use Use Mint because I think it is what Ubuntu Should Be. Free and Open Source Will never Make it if it's users diss any Distro They Don't Like or use MS and Apple can just stand bye while we Kill All These Great Works.

Your logical thought

Anonymous's picture

Your logical thought patterns, solidly backed arguments, and creative use of grammar are inspiring. Keep up the good fight my man.


Anonymous's picture

please, learn to write a coherent sentence, stick to the subject matter at hand. why should anyone place any creedence on your ramblings.

Linux Mint 9 and Ubuntu 10.04

epsilonmajor's picture

Question, is Mint 9 based upon Ubuntu 10.04?.If so, then I will be leaving it alone. I am using a system driven by an Intel i7 860, I was a Ubuntu 9.10 user and everything was great. The change to Ubuntu 10.04 introduced a problem that meant I had to login, and then reboot to get it to start up at all. After a few days of this it would not boot at all. I changed to Mint 8 and all worked again. I am puzzled as to why Ubuntu 10.04 failed with this hardware. Has anyone else become aware of this problem?

RE: Linux Mint 9 and Ubuntu 10.04

johnny zig's picture

I have experienced the same thing where the computer will start its boot up and while the screen is still black prior to loading up the operating system I will get the request"User Name" in white letters followed by "password". If you fill it in, it gives you nothing anyway, one time I even got the msg on Linux Mint 9 "Congratulations, you now have the Asian flu". It sounds like someone playing a practical joke but it is not funny to me. I didn't have a virus though. This request for a password has occurred on first Ubuntu 10.04 and now Linux Mint 9 (very annoying and disappointing because I think the operating system itself is very good). I would love to hear from someone who has solved this problem. For me it has been intermittent, it doesn't happen every time. When it does, I have to press the reset button, sometimes more than once and then it will boot up properly. It is kind of like having a dead fly in the wedding cake. I didn't have this problem at all with the last versions of Ubuntu or Linux Mint.


Doug.Roberts's picture


Reading your Mint article provided just the nudge I needed. I'd been wanting to try it for a while and finally decided to give it a try. It's installing on one of my laptops as a I write this.


Good distro

Doug.Roberts's picture

I liked Mint 9 on the laptop so much that I went ahead and installed it on my Kubuntu/Ubuntu Frankenstein AMD-64 desktop server as well. Everything just works, including PulseAudio on my SoundBlaster Audigy card (surprise!)

Good stuff...


johnh3's picture

If you like the Gnome desktop Linux Mint 9 are among the best. But if I want KDE so try the new Pardus 2009.2
It are similar to Mint with pre-installed mediacodecs.


johnh3's picture

I like Mint 9 if using the Gnome desktop. But if you prefeer KDE in my opinion the new Pardus 2009.2 are among the best in that field:

It are similar to Mint with pre-installed mediacodecs to.

From Ubuntu to Linux Mint

Max - The IT pro's picture

Nough said: "From Ubuntu to Linux Mint"

I'm only using Windows 7 right now because I NEED Virtual DJ so that I can learn to spin delicious beats with my House, Tribal, Trance & Progressive sounds. Quite frankly, I always install Mint on old machines here in East Africa.
OTOH, I gotta give mad props to Windows 7. It's a refreshing change from XPee. :-)
My goal is to dual boot both of them since I'm a CONSULTANT so it'd be ignorant of me to throw 7 out with the bath water. :-)

Virtual Dj

Dj Pipz's picture

Hey, why not use MIXX is a program like virtual DJ, have similar interface and works great, I use it in LM8 and Xfce desktop ...

Try it, you lose nothing ....

you can find it in your software manager..

try Artix linux is Ubuntu

ricardo's picture

try Artix linux is Ubuntu based and i think you´ll love it.
It must have all the tools you need and much more.

Shame Game

obx_ruckle's picture

My government takes my tax money and supports abortion. Perhaps I should refuse to use my government.

I refuse to use Linux Mint

Anonymous Coward's picture

The creator of linux mint put foot in mouth back in 2009 - see more here:,2845,2346637,00.asp

I refuse to use a distro that takes any funds generated by it and funds terrorism, even if by proxy.

Are the rest of you trying to hide this or did you not know? If you've used LM for more than a year, how could you not?

Shame on you.....

I think we've had way too

Webmistress's picture

I think we've had way too much conversation about Israeli/Palestinian relations. Let's please refocus on something useful. The next anti-Semitic remark will be deleted as well. I never censor comments here, but this is enough. Seriously.

Katherine Druckman is webmistress at You might find her on Twitter or at the Southwest Drupal Summit

This just boosted my support for Linux Mint

Heywood U. Spankme's picture

I'm not too fond of Jews anyway. I'm glad to see that the creator of Linux Mint shares my views. This has greatly improved my outlook on the devteam and the distro itself.

Good luck Palestine.

Dear Mr. Spankme, GROW

Webmistress's picture

Dear Mr. Spankme,


And btw, Jews probably don't like you either.

Katherine Druckman is webmistress at You might find her on Twitter or at the Southwest Drupal Summit

Linux Mint is a Great Distro

Anonymous Mint Fan's picture

@Anonymous Coward:

Why flame the creator of Linux Mint for expressing his political views?
The mass murder of innocent people is WRONG!

I'm not sure how you reached the conclusion that Linux Mint funds terrorism? Why don't you go and do some homework and look at how money YOU are spending is funding the killing of innocent women and children.

Look here to see a list of companies that support and fund the Israeli army:

Maybe we should be discussing how brave Clem was to express his disgust so publicly, instead of flaming the creator of a fantastic distro that is freely given away.

The Real Shame is on you @Anonymous Coward for implying that the Israeli occupation and subsequent killing of innocent people is ok.

Mint mideast

rcb's picture

Thanks for the info, that is just the push I needed to finally give Mint a try.

Who are the real Terrorists?

Invictus's picture

Now that I know Clem's view about Gaza and Palestine, I WILL USE MINT AND NO OTHER...
I am fed up with this Zionist garbage. So in order to even things, LET'S BLOCKADE ISRAEL. Let's see how quickly the rockets will start flying from Tel Aviv!


Anonymous's picture

This is the first I'm hearing of this.
....where exactly does it say that he's funding ANYTHING at all? You know to say donating to x is donating to terrorism by proxy is a lot more believable if x is denominated.....

I also refuse to use Mint

Dead Parrot's picture

Glad to see that others have not let this nasty aspect of Mint go unmentioned. While I don't know that Mint funds terrorism it is certainly supporting the worst kind of shallow Euro-lefty-ism that looks at a long, complex situation with blinders designed to see what they want to see.

All forms of hate should be challenged energetically, even those associated with FOSS.

Boycott Linux Mint and support an honest peace among all peoples!

Please use logic

Anonymous's picture

If one refuses funding from a certain group of people, that group will have more money left. That money may then go to counterterrorism, but it certainly won't go to terrorism.

If one asks a certain group not to use ones software, but doesn't change the license, that group can just ignore that request. And even if Israel was forbidden from using Mint, I'm pretty sure that would be of no advantage to the Palestines at all.

So, not only did the developer shoot himself in the foot by annoying some of the users, he even helped Israel a tiny little.

Eh ?

David Freehug's picture

How does concern for the people of Palestine, and the illegal collective punishment being meted out to them, become "funding terrorism" ?

It is actually possible to feel concern for the innocent people in Gaza and be horrified at the way they are treated without supporting the armed resistence to that treatment. This is precisely the view expressed in the article you linked to - your own prejudices are blinding you to the content of that post.

Odd, I'm sure read it just

Anonymous Coward's picture

Odd, I'm sure read it just fine. I'm not going to justify this with any more of my energies when they are better applied to getting (keeping) Gentoo running after an update. In the end it's each individual's own choice what OS they use, but then even Windoze and Gates knows who not to fund. I'd rather n00bs stay on that side than try LM.

I'm sure you didn't read it

Cliff Wells's picture

I'm sure you didn't read it just fine. The article gives no indication that Mint Linux donates money to anyone. While the word "donate" does exist several times in that article, all of them have to do with donations *to* ML, not *from* it.

Either you didn't read it and were too arrogant to double-check your facts when you were called on it, or you have pretty poor reading comprehension skills. In either case, your opinion is pretty worthless.

More one distribution

mlynxr's picture

More one distribution...

In my opinion, would be much better use this energy helping to correct known bugs or increasing the usability of already existing distributions most popular.

Re: another distro...

JD's picture

Yeah But many would say that about ubuntu taking off debian as well so you can see how it's pointless to talk about this subject. But I know you mean well my good newbie. Anyway I think Linux mint is great becuase it does what ubuntu can never do (for legal reasons) like ship with mp3 suppurt and more all for free. I belive This is what ubuntu could and should be but can't beacuse of stupid patents laws and politics (eg. We must use All open source! screw how much it hurts the end users expiriance! - what fedora team loves to do) anyway no offence I love fedora and ubuntu to bytes! :D

New distros come, but the bugs remain.

mlynxr's picture

I dont think is necessary a new distro just for customizations that anyone could make in a ubuntu environment. Nothing that a good repository could make for you.

I dont want to start a discussion about what is right or wrong in Open Source World, everyone does it what feels right, but in my opinion its more productive, for example, join the efforts to solve the several bugs existing in KDE or GNOME environment.

New distros come, but the bugs remain.

The best distro for a beginner (cause I am one)

Anonymous's picture

The advantage with mint is that it comes with all the fixes that Ubuntu puts out after its push to meet deadlines which normally has things broken or half finished.This might be one major reason why Mint is stable and the concerning the looks, very professional. There is focus on delivering a smooth, good looking, nice feeling OS that is what makes me use it as my Linux distro. I simply love the ease of use and the community is one of the best.

Mint has its place, and it's a good place.

Eddie Wilson's picture

I've used LinuxMint in the past and it is a very fine distro. Installed codecs seems to be something people want to talk about. I've installed Mint on several machines for new users but I never mention the codecs because of legal issues. I don't care about the legal issues myself but some people do so I don't mention it. Overall LinuxMint does give the new user a great experience and most do like it. Personally I think it's butt ugly being green and with the icon set they use but that's just personal preference. The menu system is good for people coming over from MS Windows because it very Windows like. As I said...great for new users. Even tho I don't use it I wish them the greatest success with a very good distribution.


Charles's picture

The chief at Mint, Clem, takes a cautious approach to upgrading. He believes that although it is very simple to click a box and upgrade in Ubuntu, the potential risks involved (in terms of it messing up your system) are not fully explained. That's why a fresh install is recommended. And, of course, for non-geeks there is not an absolute urge to get the latest version, so if they download and use Mint 9 they can stick with it for around three years before they have to worry about reinstalling. I applaud Clem's approach - he's not taking the easy way out but recommends that people do the right thing.

Linux Mint for the IT guy

aitd's picture

I stumbled on Mint about a year ago and decided to try it. It has become my choice for the laptop I use in a blended network environment because it plays very well out of the box inside a Windows dominated network (I admin the Linux boxes and servers).

As usual though I customize it with a rather large tool compliment including forensics and various tools found in Backtrack. Virtual Box rounds out the install to handle specialized needs.

On the desktop; I still stick with Ubuntu, Arch, and openSuse.

Best OS

Sammy's picture

Linux Mint 9 is a great OS however, I find overall Ubuntu 10.04 to be the best OS. With Mint you are required to do a fresh install each time a new version comes out with Ubuntu you can just upgrade. Since, I install alot of additional software I prefer Ubuntu since once you get the system setup the way you like that's it with Mint you have to redo everything every six months.


kaddy's picture

Not true.... Linux Mint has the ability to upgrade from one version to the next.... It got introduced in mint 8 i believe.... could of been earlier

Linux Mint

JerseyMike's picture

I'm a huge fan of Mint, when my xp hard drive died 2 years ago, I decided to take my curiousity for Linux and make a life style out if it. Over the last 2 years, I've moved my kids to Linux also, my 9 year old loves her Mint operation system (she's still on Mint 8), my 5 year uses Qimo based on Xubuntu with all the educational pacakges, and I'm running Mint 9 on my Dell Duel core and Puppy Lupu on my laptop.

There's an awsome community site too!

Helton's picture

One of the reasons - beyond those already mentioned - I love Mint as a distro is the deep intent of the Development Team to put the good ideas from userbase as quickly and respectfull in practice as soon as possible.

The community site, which is much like a brainstorm forum, is found here:

  • Mint

    Jason's picture

    I have been using Mint since 8 and find it more useful then the regular Ubuntu because of codec support, right click to term (I can you can install this), single nav panel, right click open folder as root in gnome, and it's green which is awesome!

    Since I use Gnome DO I could care less about Menu but when I have to use it. It seems quick and responsive. They also include NSWrapper in Admin for those pesky network cards that don't have linux support (Netgear I am looking at you jerkies).